August 21, 2015 |
IT WAS the eve of Independence Day and the Phillies were in Atlanta, but the season was already over. Nobody told Chase Utley. The manager, Ryne Sandberg, had quit on the team. Cole Hamels was pitching like a man resigned to another summer in purgatory. Ut? He was in the hallway between the visitors' clubhouse and the tunnel to the dugout, sitting at a table filled with video monitors. Alone, he watched himself hit, clip after clip after clip, an hour before the Phillies took batting practice.
May 18, 2008 |
Two weeks ago today, Chase Utley stood in front of his locker at Citizens Bank Park and packed for a West Coast trip. Utley tossed his fielder's glove, batting gloves, spikes, sneakers and sunglasses into a red equipment bag. He then reached into his locker, pulled out five brand-new ebony bats - gamers - and stuffed them into his bat bag. Before zipping the bat bag closed, Utley reached for the one piece of equipment he hadn't left home without...
August 2, 2013 |
IN THE BOTTOM of the first inning, Chase Utley stepped to the plate and hit a home run. It was the 14th time he had done so this season, good enough for fourth among major league second basemen. If anybody needed a reminder that the 34-year-old veteran was still one of baseball's best players at his position, here it was. Still, as he trotted around the bases to the hearty approval of the Citizens Bank Park crowd, you couldn't shake the feeling it was the beginning of another egregious miscalculation by a Phillies organization struggling to find the path toward a better tomorrow.
September 8, 2012 |
Eleven days ago, Erik Kratz pointed his white, 1998 Honda Accord toward Harrisonburg, Va., and started the 270-mile drive home. "It's still a good ride," Kratz said of the car, which has taken him about 190,000 miles to and from obscurity. He thought about his wife, who is expecting the couple's third child in October. He thought about how he would spend the day away from baseball. He thought about how grateful he was, and then it hit him. "I drove down some familiar roads," Kratz said.
July 16, 2014 |
MINNEAPOLIS - A chair reserved for Chase Utley was positioned under a sign with his name on it, but the Phillies second baseman stood. He stared at the seat. Major League Baseball mandated that Utley - the lone Phillies all-star - spend 45 minutes Monday with reporters. He overcame career-threatening knee injuries to start Tuesday night for the National League, but circumstances overshadowed that accomplishment. "Are they trying to trade him?" Hunter Pence, a former teammate, wondered from across the room.
June 12, 2015 |
CINCINNATI - Physically, Chase Utley, who has battled an assortment of injuries throughout his career, including chronic knee pain, said he's OK. "Yeah, I feel fine," Utley said following the Phillies' 5-2 loss to the Reds yesterday. But after an 0-for-3 afternoon, his 28th hitless performance in 51 starts, you surely had to wonder if the veteran All-Star's woes are beginning to wear on his mind. With an opportunity to get the Phillies back in yesterday's game - two on, two out, down two runs in the seventh inning - Utley produced a lazy, inning-ending fly ball to leftfield in his final at-bat.
May 4, 2010 |
So here's the deal: You get to invite any of the top stars in Philadelphia sports over to the house for dinner. We're talking hypothetically, of course, but just say you have that opportunity. Who would you invite? Ryan Howard? DeSean Jackson? Mike Richards? And what would you serve them? Would you go Italian? Send out for Chinese? Or perhaps you have a favorite dish that has been passed down through the generations? We asked you whom would you like to have over in the survey we conducted with the Sport Industry Research Center at Temple University and you chose to chow down with Chase Utley.
April 12, 2013 |
WE ENTERED the season knowing that the Phillies needed a lot of things to go right in order for them to return to the postseason, and the last couple of nights have offered a tantalizing glimpse at the kind of team they can become if those things break in the proper direction. Of course, two nights make for a small sample size. The last time the Phillies had faced Jeremy Hefner, all seven of the batters they sent to the plate against him ended up scoring runs. But a lineup can only hit against the pitchers whom the other team sends to the mound, and in rattling off their first back-to-back victories of the season, Charlie Manuel's team did just that.
August 9, 2015 |
SAN DIEGO - When Pete Mackanin drew out his lineup before Friday night's series opener against the Padres, he didn't treat his newly activated second baseman as if he entered with a dismal .179 batting average. Mackanin looked at it as if he pushed the reset button on Utley's season, which resumed Friday after 37 games missed because of a right ankle injury. The six-time all-star reentered the Phillies' lineup as their second baseman and leadoff hitter, the first time in 11 seasons he batted out of the top spot.
April 1, 2013 |
THE BALL came toward his head and baserunner Chase Utley did the natural thing. He ducked. After avoiding contact with Domonic Brown's heat-seeking missile of a base hit, Utley regained his footing and took off from first to second base. He didn't stop until he slid safely into third base. Utley then bounced back on his feet and prepared for the next step. It was March and he was playing baseball, so any next step he took was going to be a heck of a lot farther than any he made in the last two springs.